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[VIDEO] Why Government Funding Hurts PBS & NPR 

If the federal government were to cut off funding for public broadcasting, the programs that so many of us cherish not only wouldn’t disappear, they would have a better chance of surviving long into the future.

In 1967, President Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act, establishing a system of government subsidies that hasn’t changed that much in fifty years. The lion-share of federal money was allocated—not to pay directly for programming—but to go to independent public television and radio stations that were established in every corner of a vast nation. Their main purpose has always been to distribute national content to their local communities. About 70 percent of government funding went directly the local stations in 1967. Fifty years later, that formula hasn’t changed much.

When the Public Broadcasting Act became law, maintaining a network of regional stations was the only way to insure that every American household had access to public television and radio content. Today, this decentralized system isn’t necessary because it’s possible to stream or download NPR or PBS content from anywhere in the world. As audiences moves online, the regional stations supported by the federal government are becoming unnecessary.

It’s not just that these stations have become a waste of taxpayer money—they also present an obstacle to online distribution. The advent of podcasting, for example, was a singular opportunity for NPR to capitalize big on a new way of distributing its rich content. Today, NPR publishes several of the top podcasts, but in a concession to the stations, it forbids show hosts from promoting podcasts on the radio or from even mentioning NPR’s popular smartphone app. Station opposition is also the reason that podcast listeners can’t download episodes of NPR’s two top programs, Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

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Recently, some of public radio’s most talented show hosts and producers have gone to work for private podcasting ventures. One reason to leave, says former-NPR reporter Adam Davidson, is that podcasters “have a creative freedom that NPR’s institutional frictions simply can’t allow.”

The fact is that without federal subsidies, the programs themselves could thrive. About 40 percent of funding for public television comes from private contributions (individuals, foundations, and businesses). For public radio, it’s about 60 percent. Read the rest of this entry »

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REWIND Oct 24, 2016: Washington Post

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…We’re also moving Utah — yes, Utah! — from “lean Republican” to “toss-up” as independent candidate Evan McMullin, a Utah native and Mormon, continues to show considerable polling resiliency in the Beehive State. Count us as skeptical that Clinton can win in such a Republican state. But McMullin is taking lots of Republican voters away from Trump, and it’s not out of the question that the third party candidate could win the state’s six electoral votes.

And, finally — and much to our amazement — we are adding Texas to our list of competitive states, rating it as “lean Republican.” The last three polls taken in the state have shown Trump ahead by three points (twice) and four points; the Real Clear Politics polling average in the state puts Trump up 4.6 points. It speaks to how badly Trump is performing even in longtime Republican strongholds that the debate going forward won’t be whether Texas should stay on the list of competitive races but whether it should move to “toss-up.”

Those changes tilt the electoral map — and math — even more heavily toward Clinton. Clinton now has 323 electoral votes either solidly for her or leaning her way. Trump has just 180. (Reminder: You need 270 to win.) And, virtually all of the vulnerability from here until Nov. 8 is on Trump’s side. Arizona and Utah, two states that haven’t voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1996 and 1964, respectively, are toss-ups! Texas, the one large-population state that has long been considered solidly Republican, is within mid-single digits! States like Colorado and Virginia — swing states in the past two elections — aren’t even real opportunities for Trump anymore! Read the rest of this entry »


Proceeding As Expected: Obama’s Federal Takeover of Police Endorsed by United Nations

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The agreements impose years-long compliance review regimes, implementation deadlines, and regular reviews by federal bureaucrats. This makes local police directly answerable to the Civil Rights Division at the DOJ.

“The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice has provided oversight and recommendations for improvement of police services in a number of cities with consent decrees. This is one of the most effective ways to reduce discrimination in law enforcement and it needs to be beefed up and increased to cover as many of the 18,000-plus local law enforcement jurisdictions.”

“The Obama administration has been pursuing the federal takeover of local police right under Congress’ nose — and Republicans in Congress were apparently unaware it was happening.”

That was United Nations Rapporteur Maina Kai on July 27, a representative of the U.N. Human Rights Council, who on the tail-end of touring the U.S., endorsed a little-known and yet highly controversial practice by the Justice Department to effect a federal takeover of local police and corrections departments.

The consent decrees are already being implemented in Newark, New Jersey; Miami, Florida; Los Angeles, California; Ferguson, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; and other municipalities.

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“The federal court orders are designed to undo Rudy Giuliani-style policing tactics that were effective at reducing crime in big cities in the 1990s and 2000s.”

Here’s how it works: the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice files a lawsuit in federal court against a city, county, or state, alleging constitutional and civil rights violations by the police or at a corrections facility. It is done under 42 U.S.C. § 14141, a section of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, granting the attorney general the power to prosecute law enforcement misconduct. The municipality then simply agrees to the judicial finding — without contest — and the result is a wide-reaching federal court order that imposes onerous regulations on local police.

The federal court orders are designed to undo Rudy Giuliani-style policing tactics that were effective at reducing crime in big cities in the 1990s and 2000s.

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In short, the much-feared nationalization of local police departments is already being initiated by the Obama administration’s Justice Department. And somehow nobody noticed. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘Sometimes, at Night, Do You Still Hear Them, Clarice? The Screaming of the Christies?’

Chris Christie’s Wordless Screaming

Alexandra Petri writes: I believe that Donald Trump was talking, tonight, and that he, in fact, held an entire press conference. But it was impossible to hear him over Chris Christie’s eyes.

“His were the eyes of a man who has gazed into the abyss, and the abyss gazed back, and then he endorsed the abyss.”

Chris Christie spent the entire speech screaming wordlessly. I have never seen someone scream so loudly without using his mouth before. It would have been remarkable if it had not been so terrifying.

Sometimes, at night, do you still hear them, Clarice? The screaming of the Christies?

His were the eyes of a man who has gazed into the abyss, and the abyss gazed back, and then he endorsed the abyss.

It was not a thousand-yard stare. That would understate the vast and impenetrable distance it encompassed.

“He had the eyes of a man who has looked into the heart of light, the silence. A man who had seen the moment of his greatness flicker, and seen the eternal footman hold his coat, and snicker.”

He looked as if he had seen a ghost and the ghost had made him watch Mufasa die again. Read the rest of this entry »


METAPHORAGEDDON

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MANCHESTER, N.H. — A malfunctioning Marco Rubio crashed as he was overloaded by attacks last night from New Jersey Gov….(read more)

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Source: Boston Herald


Iran’s Fellow Travelers at the New York Times 

Tourists walk on a platform at a station in Tehran after arriving in the Iranian capital on a luxury train from Budapest on October 27, 2014. The tourists from Germany, Russia, Switzerland, Denmark, Britain, Australia, Spain, Singapore and Turkey spent two weeks visiting Tabriz, Zanjan, Yazd, Isfahan, Shiraz before arriving in Tehran for their flight back to Istanbul, on a trip reportedly costing up to $31,000. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

For $7,000, the newspaper’s journalists will serve as tour guides to the Islamic Republic. (Evin Prison is not on the itinerary.)

James Kirchick writes: On Nov. 23, the New York Times published its latest of more than half-a-dozen articles pleading for the Iranian government to release Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent who was imprisoned on charges of espionage more than 16 months ago. “Western officials hoped that the nuclear agreement would usher in a new era of broader cooperation with Iran,” the editorial board wrote. “But as they begin taking steps to ease economic sanctions on Iran, as called for in the deal, the treatment of Mr. Rezaian has intensified their concerns about whether Iran can be trusted to fulfill its nuclear commitments.”

The editorial’s most recent admonishment, like those that preceded it, managed to elide some relevant details about the newspaper’s relationship to the subject matter. First, the Times editorial board would clearly count as a member of any group looking forward to “a new era of broader cooperation with Iran.” Second, the Times has done far more than merely “hope” for such cooperation. While the newspaper has been demanding the release of an American journalist — one now facing a prison sentence of indeterminate length — some of its own journalists, under the auspices of their employer, have been engaging in a commercial enterprise that benefits his captors.

“Tales from Persia” is the exotic name the Times has given to the 13-day getaway to Iran it operates. For $7,195 (not including airfare), participants are invited to join columnist Roger Cohen, editorial board member Carol Giacomo (who is leading the trip that is currently ongoing), or Paris correspondent Elaine Sciolino and hear their insights about “the traditions and cultures of a land whose influence has been felt for thousands of years.” The itinerary for the seven upcoming departures promises “beautiful landscapes, arid mountains and rural villages.” Needless to say, Evin Prison, where the Iranian government houses political prisoners and Rezaian continues to languish, is not among the stops, though a visit to the home of the late Ayatollah Khomeini is. Read the rest of this entry »


Student Charged with University of Chicago Threat Released to Mother’s Custody 

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The 21-year-old charged with posting threats to kill white students or staff members at the University of Chicago and was motivated by the police shooting of a black teenager was released from jail Tuesday and put under house arrest.

Authorities said Jabari Dean was responsible for a mass shooting threat that forced the University of Chicago to cancel classes Monday at the prestigious college to avenge the shooting death of a black teenager at the hands of a Chicago police officer last year. Read the rest of this entry »


Syrian Refugees Have Been Resettled In 36 States, Most In California, Texas, and Michigan

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Monday CNS News reported that the vast majority of Syrian refugees that have been resettled in the U.S. are Sunni Muslim and very few are Christians or other religious minorities.

Caroline May reports: Since the start of the Syria’s civil war in the spring of 2011, the U.S. has admitted 2,311 Syrian refugees and resettled them in 36 different states.

According to data from the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center the top three destinations for Syrian refugees since the beginning of the conflict are California, Texas, and Michigan.

From March 15, 2011 through December 1, 2015, California received the most (261) Syrian refugees, Texas received the second most with 242, and Michigan has received the third most with 217.

Other states that have received Syrian refugees since March 2011 include: Arizona (182), Illinois (170), Pennsylvania (161), Florida (142), Kentucky (101), New Jersey (99), Ohio (89), Massachusetts (72), Georgia (69), North Carolina (56), New York (55), Connecticut (51), Maryland (43), Tennessee (42), Indiana (39), Washington (38), Idaho (37), Missouri (29), Virginia (26), Colorado (18), Louisiana (14), Utah (12), Kansas (8), Nevada (8), Minnesota (7), New Mexico (6), Oregon (6),New Hampshire (3), Oklahoma (3), Wisconsin (2), Arkansas (1), Maine (1), and West Virginia (1). Read the rest of this entry »


Cato Book Found on Elon Musk’s Desk

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Today, a Cato fan tweeted a photo of Elon Musk’s desk with a copy of the Cato book, The Dirty Dozen by Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy and Institute for Justice’s William Mellor.

Have you read it yet? Get your copy here!


OH YES THEY DID: Iran ‘Convicts’ Hostage American Reporter In Secret Trial

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John Hayward reports: “News of a verdict in Tehran’s Revolutionary Court initially came early Sunday, but court spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei did not specify the judgment,” reports Rezaian’s paper, the Washington Post“In a state TV report late Sunday, Ejei said definitively that Rezaian was found guilty.”

“The judge who heard the case is known for handing down harsh sentences, and Rezaian potentially faces a sentence of 10 to 20 years. It is not even known if Rezaian himself has been informed of the conviction.”

The Iranians have not specified what Rezaian is guilty of or what his sentence will be. The “trial” wrapped up two months ago. Rezaian has already been imprisoned in Iran for 14 months. He has now been held hostage longer than the Americans seized in Tehran under President Jimmy Carter, a milestone Rezaian passed over the weekend.

“The judge who heard the case is known for handing down harsh sentences, and Rezaian potentially faces a sentence of 10 to 20 years,” the Post ominously notes. “It is not even known if Rezaian himself has been informed of the conviction.” His Iranian lawyer also appeared to be unaware of the conviction.

[Read the full text here, at Breitbart.com]

“Iran has behaved unconscionably throughout this case, but never more so than with this indefensible decision by a Revolutionary Court to convict an innocent journalist of serious crimes after a proceeding that unfolded in secret, with no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing,” said Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »


Thomas Pollock Anshutz: ‘The Ironworkers’ Noontime’

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The Ironworkers’ NoontimeThomas Pollock Anshutz – click here for larger image


Insiders: International Hacking Scheme Rakes in $100 Million by Stealing Press Releases

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The SEC lawsuit named 17 individuals and 15 companies in the U.S. and abroad, in such places as Russia, France, Malta and Cyprus. Danny Ocean could not be reached for comment.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — In late October 2013, Panera Bread Co., the national chain of restaurants that specializes in healthy soups and baked goods, prepared a news release to announce it was adjusting its earnings expectations downward for the recently begun fourth quarter.

“The international hacking scheme allegedly raked in $100 million between 2010 and 2015. It is being called the biggest case of its kind ever prosecuted, and one that demonstrated yet another way in which the financial world is vulnerable to cybercrime.”

The release undoubtedly was one of many sent by publicly traded companies to business news services for publication.

“The defendants then used roughly 800 of those news releases to make trades before the information came out, exploiting a time gap ranging from hours to three days.”

This one was different, though. As an unsuspecting investing public awaited the announcement, federal authorities say a group comprising computer hackers and stock traders already had seen the release in the computer system of Marketwired, the Toronto business newswire.

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“Authorities said that beginning in 2010 and continuing as recently as May, they gained access to more than 150,000 press releases that were about to be issued by Marketwired; PR Newswire in New York; and Business Wire of San Francisco. The press releases contained earnings figures and other corporate information.”

Using the crucial information in the release, the group allegedly made $17 million worth of trades and orders betting Panera’s stock would lose value once the news went public. They were correct, and for their efforts walked away with nearly $1 million in profit, according to a criminal indictment unsealed Tuesday against nine people in the U.S. and Ukraine.

“It is being called the biggest case of its kind ever prosecuted, and one that demonstrated yet another way in which the financial world is vulnerable to cybercrime.”

The international hacking scheme allegedly raked in $100 million between 2010 and 2015. It is being called the biggest case of its kind ever prosecuted, and one that demonstrated yet another way in which the financial world is vulnerable to cybercrime.

United States Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, center, speaks during a news conference in Newark, N.J., Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. An international group of hackers and stock traders made $30 million by breaking into the computers of newswire services that put out corporate press releases and trading on the information before it was made public, federal prosecutors said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

United States Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, center, speaks during a news conference in Newark, N.J., Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“Perhaps even more alarming was the assertion by prosecutors that much of the group’s ability to illegally tap into the news services’ computer systems came via ‘phishing,’ a well-known practice in which hackers send an email with a seemingly innocuous link that, if clicked on, can eventually lead to the divulging of the user’s login and password information.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission also brought civil charges against the nine plus 23 other people and companies in the U.S. and Europe.

“Every employee of every company has to be vigilant about the emails they get from people who look like their friends or acquaintances, urging them to click on a link. They should say to themselves every time that happens,`That seems like a really bad idea.'”

— Paul Fishman, U.S. attorney for New Jersey

The case “illustrates the risks posed for our global markets by today’s sophisticated hackers,” SEC chief Mary Jo White said. “Today’s international case is unprecedented in terms of the scope of the hacking at issue, the number of traders involved, the number of securities unlawfully traded and the amount of profits generated.”

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“The nine people indicted include two people described as Ukrainian computer hackers and six stock traders. Prosecutors said the defendants made $30 million from their part of the scheme.”

Authorities said that beginning in 2010 and continuing as recently as May, they gained access to more than 150,000 press releases that were about to be issued by Marketwired; PR Newswire in New York; and Business Wire of San Francisco. The press releases contained earnings figures and other corporate information.

“Today’s international case is unprecedented in terms of the scope of the hacking at issue, the number of traders involved, the number of securities unlawfully traded and the amount of profits generated.”

The defendants then used roughly 800 of those news releases to make trades before the information came out, exploiting a time gap ranging from hours to three days, prosecutors said. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES SHE DID: Woman Lures 11-Year-Old Boy on Xbox; Sends Explicit Photos, Gives Boy Clothes, Debit Cards, Jewelry as Gifts

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‘During the course of playing video games together online, Jessica Carlton and the boy developed a relationship that grew to involve sexually explicit text messages and phone conversations, then the exchange of sexually explicit photographs’

A Michigan woman is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with an 11-year-old boy for more than a year after meeting him on Xbox Live.

“During the course of playing video games together online, Carlton and the boy developed a relationship that grew to involve sexually explicit text messages and phone conversations, then the exchange of sexually explicit photographs.”

In March 2015, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey received a referral from a municipal police department that Jessica Carlton, 44, had been communicating with the young victim, who at that point was 13-year-old, according to a news release.

“It’s extremely important for parents to understand that during the course of doing something that certainly might seem harmless — playing a video game online — their children could easily wind up meeting adults with dark intentions.”

An investigation revealed that Carlton first contacted the victim via Xbox Live, an online multiplayer gaming system, sometime in May 2013, Union County Assistant Prosecutor Colleen Ruppert said.

“During the course of playing video games together online, Carlton and the boy developed a relationship that grew to involve sexually explicit text messages and phone conversations, then the exchange of sexually explicit photographs,” the document states.

Carlton allegedly traveled from Michigan to New Jersey in December 2014 to bring the boy gifts and to meet him in person, Ruppert said.  Read the rest of this entry »


THE PANTSUIT REPORT: Hillary Clinton’s Mysterious Hide-and-Seek Emails

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Alexa Corse  and Shane Harris report: Among the approximately 2,000 emails that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has released from her private account, there is a conspicuous two-month gap. There are no emails between Clinton and her State Department staff during May and June 2012, a period of escalating violence in Libya leading up to the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left four Americans dead.

“That two-month period also coincides with a senior Clinton aide obtaining a special exemption that allowed her to work both as a staff member to the secretary and in a private capacity for Clinton and her husband’s foundation. The Associated Press has sued to obtain emails from Clinton’s account about the aide, Huma Abedin.”

A State Department spokesman told The Daily Beast that for the year 2012, only those emails related to the security of the consulate or to the U.S. diplomatic presence in Libya were made public and turned over to a House committee investigating the fatal Benghazi assault. But if that’s true, then neither Clinton nor her staff communicated via email about the escalating dangers in Libya. There were three attacks during that two-month period, including one that targeted the consulate.Hillary-Shrug

“The status of Clinton’s emails has become an explosive political issue ever since The New York Times revealed that the then-Secretary of State was using a private email server to handle her official correspondence. Cybersecurity experts believe the homebrew system opened Clinton and her colleagues to targeting from online spies.” 

That two-month period also coincides with a senior Clinton aide obtaining a special exemption that allowed her to work both as a staff member to the secretary and in a private capacity for Clinton and her husband’s foundation. The Associated Press has sued to obtain emails from Clinton’s account about the aide, Huma Abedin.

The status of Clinton’s emails has become an explosive political issue ever since The New York Times revealed that the then-Secretary of State was using a private email server to handle her official correspondence. Cybersecurity experts believe the homebrew system opened Clinton and her colleagues to targeting from online spies. The State Department and Intelligence Community Inspector Generals have asked the Justice Department to look into possible disclosure of classified information.

[Read the full story here, at The Daily Beast]

Regarding the security situation in Libya, there was plenty for Clinton and her team to discuss via email. On May 22, 2012, the International Red Cross’s Benghazi office was hit by rocket-propelled grenades.

Read the rest of this entry »


Sarah Laskow: Libraries And Cities Are Terrible At Keeping Track of Art

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The inside of a library’s catalog.(Image: Texas State Library/Flickr)

Sarah Laskow writes: Late in May, when the Boston Public Library was still missing a Rembrandt etching worth $30,000 and a 16th century Dürer print worth $600,000, the situation looked bad. More than a dozen staff members were searching through tens of thousands of prints and drawings, without any luck, and the local press was reporting on a recent audit that had scorched the library for its less-than-stellar inventory management. “It is critical that the BPL have an inventory report that should list each item it owns,” the auditors wrote. “This consolidated inventory list does not exist.”

“These collections are vast. If you’re talking about a couple hundred items, it’s easy to go through once a year and make sure everything’s there. But when you’re talking about millions of items…if it took you 2 minutes to inventory each time, a full inventory can take years.”

— Kara M. McClurken, who heads preservation services at University of Virginia Library.

Then, last week, just one day after the library’s president announced her resignation, the two prints turned up—just 80 feet from where they were supposed to be.

In Boston, the value of the prints that went missing was high, and as a result, the reaction—press coverage, police involvement—and the consequences were severe. But the problems identified in Boston are far from unique to this one library.

The British Library (Photo: Luke McKernan/Flickr)

The British Library (Photo: Luke McKernan/Flickr)

Across the country, in city art collections and special collections of public libraries, one-of-a-kind items are routinely misfiled, misplaced, lost or stolen. And sometimes, routine mistakes and slipshod documentation grow into a much more intractable problem, with large portions of public collections being managed by institutions who have no idea what’s in them and no full inventory of their holdings.

 “Librarians are trained to catalogue books and CDs. Art is an outlier. “With cutbacks, librarians are asked to do more with less, and artwork gets put on the back burner.”

— Camille Ann Brewer, the executive director of University of Chicago’ Black Metropolis Research Consortium

For instance, a library in Paterson, New Jersey, lost 20 pieces of antique furniture and bronzes and waited six years to report the loss to police. An Indiana library couldn’t find four paintings by the German artist Julius Moessel and never even tried to collect the insurance. An audit in Long Beach, California, found that about an eighth of the city-owned art collection could not be accounted for. The New York Public Library is missing a handful of maps dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries—and didn’t even notice it had lost one of Ben Franklin’s workbooks, until the person who inherited it offered to sell it back to the library. (The NYPL is currently suing for possession.) The Chicago Public Library has lost the vast majority of the 8,000 books, some of them now rare and valuable, that were donated to the city in 1871 and made up the library’s original collection. In 2011, the San Francisco Civic Art Collection wasn’t even sure how many pieces were in its collection. How did this problem first come to light? Well,  some of its valuable pieces were found basically just lying around in a dank, watery hospital basement.

The British Library (Photo: Luke McKernan/Flickr)

The British Library (Photo: Luke McKernan/Flickr)

These problems aren’t restricted to a city level, either. At the Library of Congress, the inspector general noted in a recent report that “there is no comprehensive inventory or condition statement which covers the Library’s collections.” An examination of six presidential libraries found that the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library had inventory information for only 20,000 of its 100,000 items. Read the rest of this entry »


Hello Kitty, Minnie Mouse Duke It Out in Ghastly Times Square Ass-Whooping

Jake Rullman ?@jakerullman  21h21 hours ago Minnie Mouse and Hello Kitty got arrested in Times Square. The mascots had to pull together and have a family meeting.

The brawl occurred after cash was handed over to Hello Kitty and she was supposed to split the earnings with Minnie but didn’t, sources said.

Hello Kitty and Minnie Mouse were slapped with cuffs after they toughed it out over tip money in Times Square, police sources said.

Jiovanna Melendez, 40, who was dressed as Hello Kitty, and Sandra Mocha, 34, aka Minnie Mouse, got into a brawl around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, according to police.

Melendez, of Passaic, NJ, suffered a cut to her upper lip and Mocha, 34, of Corona, Queens, had an abrasion to the right side of her face, police sources said. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Elementary Teacher Suspended Following ‘Get Well Cards’ To Cop Killer

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Abu-Jamal, 60, is a former Black Panther serving life in prison for the 1981 murder of white Philadelphia Officer Daniel Faulkner

ORANGE, NJ – An elementary school teacher has been suspended for having her third-grade students write “get well” letters to an inmate convicted of killing a cop.

“Zunig tweeted moments after sending the letters saying, ‘Just dropped off these letters to comrade Johanna Fernandez. My 3rd graders wrote to Mumia to lift up his spirits as he is ill. #freemumia”

In a statement to NJ.com, district officials criticized the assignment given by teacher Marylin Zuniga to write letters to former death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal.

“It had been a long time since we had seen Mumia smile. He chuckled as he read excerpts from these touching letters.”

— Teacher Marylin Zuniga

School officials said they “vehemently deny” having prior knowledge of the assignment, and said Zuniga neither sought prior approval nor notified parents about this “unauthorized activity.”

According to FOX and Friends, Zunig, a teacher at Forest Street School in Orange, New Jersey, had her third graders write letters to Abu-Jamal. The letters were delivered by Johanna Fernandez, a professor of history at Baruch College.

Zunig tweeted moments after sending the letters saying, “Just dropped off these letters to comrade Johanna Fernandez. My 3rd graders wrote to Mumia to lift up his spirits as he is ill. #freemumia”

Fernandez says Mumia appreciated the public school children’s letters. Read the rest of this entry »


What Was Indicted Doctor Hoping to Buy With $100k Donation to Harry Reid’s Super PAC?

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Michael Patrick Leahy reports: In its indictment of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida opthalmologist, the Department of Justice cites Melgen’s $600,000 donation to Senator Harry Reid’s (D-NV) Senate Majority PAC in 2012. That money, the feds charge, was earmarked for the successful re-election of Menendez, and was part of “hundreds of thousands of dollars and contributions to entities that benefitted MENENDEZ’s 2012 Senate campaign, in exchange for specific requested exercises of MENENDEZ’s official authority.”

“Having worked for the Justice Department for many years, I was taken aback, upon carefully reviewing the indictment, at the lengths to which prosecutors went to downplay or omit salient details of Sen. Reid’s participation in a corruption scheme for which they’ve charged Sen. Menendez.” 

— Former chief assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andy McCarthy

The indictment makes no mention of the additional $100,000 Melgen contributed to the Senate Majority PAC a mere two weeks before Reid arranged an August 2, 2012 meeting among himself, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and Menendez.

[Read the full text here, at Breitbart]

At that meeting, Menendez advocated directly to Secretary Sebelius on behalf of Melgen’s appeal of an HHS finding that he owed $8.9 million for overbilling Medicare in 2007 and 2008. That advocacy, the indictment charges, was the influence Melgen received from Menendez in return for his $600,000 contribution to Reid’s Senate Majority PAC.

That charge leads to an obvious question.

If Melgen’s $600,000 contribution to Senate Majority PAC was an illegal quid-pro-quo between Melgen and Menendez, does it not stand to reason that Melgen’s $100,000 contribution to the same Senate Majority PAC was an illegal quid-pro-quo between Melgen and Reid in which the influence Melgen received was Reid’s arrangement of and participation in the August 2, 2012 meeting attended by Reid, Sebelius, and Menendez?

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“I don’t understand, for example, how you go to the trouble of itemizing trivial gifts like Melgen’s buying Menendez a $360 steakhouse dinner but leave out Melgen’s giving $100,000 to a Reid-controlled super PAC just a few days before Reid — not Menendez — arranged a meeting with the HHS secretary to intervene in Melgen’s $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute.”

— Former chief assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andy McCarthy

Menendez benefited from the $600,000 that was earmarked to his campaign because it helped him sail to a 19-point re-election victory in deep-blue New Jersey. Reid benefited from the $100,000 that was not earmarked because he was able to allocate it as he wished to assist more vulnerable Democrat candidates in 2012. Those efforts were successful, and Reid emerged from the general elections with his position of Senate Majority Leader still intact.

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“The facts and circumstances outlined in the Menendez indictment clearly implicate the current Democratic Senate Minority Leader in the scheme to sell influence for huge campaign contributions.”

Two former federal prosecutors tell Breitbart News that the Department of Justice, which indicted Menendez on Wednesday for his role “in the scheme to sell influence for huge campaign contributions,” has chosen “to downplay or omit salient details of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) participation in [that] corruption scheme.”

“It is obvious that the Justice Department chose to calibrate its charges so as to skip Reid. The timing and size of the contributions to Reid’s PAC coupled with his personal attendance at a meeting with Secretary Sebelius along with Menendez on behalf of the Doctor demonstrate facts sufficient to warrant further investigation.”

— Former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova

“The facts and circumstances outlined in the Menendez indictment clearly implicate the current Democratic Senate Minority Leader in the scheme to sell influence for huge campaign contributions,” former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova tells Breitbart News.

“It is obvious that the Justice Department chose to calibrate its charges so as to skip Reid. The timing and size of the contributions to Reid’s PAC coupled with his personal attendance at a meeting with Secretary Sebelius along with Menendez on behalf of the Doctor demonstrate facts sufficient to warrant further investigation,” di Genova adds.

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“The fundraiser referenced in the indictment as ‘Fundraiser 2′ and Dr. Melgen are personal friends, and we were not aware of the full extent of their communication until the indictment came out [Wednesday] night. While we are confident that this was an isolated incident, the fundraiser in question is no longer with Senate Majority PAC.”

— Stephanie Potter, executive director of Senate Majority PAC

“Having worked for the Justice Department for many years, I was taken aback, upon carefully reviewing the indictment, at the lengths to which prosecutors went to downplay or omit salient details of Sen. Reid’s participation in a corruption scheme for which they’ve charged Sen. Menendez,” former chief assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andy McCarthy tells Breitbart News.

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“I don’t understand, for example, how you go to the trouble of itemizing trivial gifts like Melgen’s buying Menendez a $360 steakhouse dinner but leave out Melgen’s giving $100,000 to a Reid-controlled super PAC just a few days before Reid — not Menendez — arranged a meeting with the HHS secretary to intervene in Melgen’s $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute,” McCarthy says.

A spokesperson for Senate Majority PAC attempted to distance the organization from the illegal activity described in the indictment. Read the rest of this entry »


Governor Christie Pardons Shaneen Allen

At The Corner, Charles C. Cooke writes:

Herewith, a beautiful sight: This is Chris Christie pardoning Shaneen Allen, a single mother from Pennsylvania who had been prosecuted for taking a concealed weapon into New Jersey in violation of the law:

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Allen has come a long way. At first it looked as if her mistake — she did not realize that her Pennsylvania concealed carry license wasn’t valid in every other state — was going to land her in prison for more than a decade, cost her her job as a medical practitioner, and take her away from her children.

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But then something remarkable happened:  Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Body of Missing Wall Street Journal Reporter Found in New Jersey River

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The body of a Wall Street Journal reporter who has been missing for 14 months was found this week frozen in a New Jersey river, authorities report.

Warner Todd Huston reports: David Bird, 55, a reporter for the Journal for over 20 years, was reported missing on January 11, 2014. Relatives say the writer went for a walk near his Long Hill Township, N.J. home and disappeared.

“The Bird family would like to thank the many members of law enforcement, especially Chief Michael Mazzeo and the Long Hill Township Police Department, for their tireless efforts to find David. They would also like to thank the countless friends, neighbors and strangers who have prayed for David and for the family over the past 14 months.”

— Family spokeswoman Carolyn Buscarino said in a statement

A large scale search, including tracking dogs, was performed immediately after the writer went missing, but the search failed to turn up any trace of the missing man.

Not long after Bird disappeared the family thought they had a clue as to what happened to him when a fraudulent credit card purchase was made in Mexico. But authorities later said that the credit card number had only been hacked and it wasn’t likely that the card was actually in Mexico.

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Still, since the early days of the missing persons case, no evidence at all emerged until this week when some boaters spied a winter coat hung up on some debris in the Passaic River. The authorities were immediately called to investigate. Read the rest of this entry »


Seattle Area Man Accidentally Receives Email Invitation to Stranger’s Bachelor Party in Philadelphia, Decides to ‘Come Anyway!’

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Groom Jeff Minetti: Why not still invite him?

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — You’ve heard of wedding crashers. Joey DiJulio is a bachelor party crasher, of sorts.

“I had no idea what any of these places are. After Googling them, everything was pointing to Philadelphia.”

— Accidental email recipient Joey DiJulio

For weeks, the man from the Seattle suburbs found himself getting emails from people he didn’t know about a bachelor party and a groom he’s never met. He saw names of Philadelphia landmarks like Reading Terminal Market thrown around in the emails but couldn’t put his finger on where they were located until he searched the names online.

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“I had no idea what any of these places are,” said DiJulio, 31, who’s never been to the Northeast. “After Googling them, everything was pointing to Philadelphia.”

It turns out DiJulio, an information technology worker and a married father of one in Burien, Washington, had been mistaken for a friend of the groom with a similar last name. He sat as a “fly on the wall” for much of the email chain imagesuntil Monday, when he broke the news after the groom’s brother wanted a headcount of people attending the party.

“This is the city of brotherly love. Any and all are welcome.”

— The Groom

But it didn’t end there. Groom Jeff Minetti, 34, figured: Why not still invite him? The Philadelphia real estate agent asked him to attend both the bachelor party March 28 and his wedding May 2 in New Jersey. Read the rest of this entry »


Super Bowl Ads: The Best, The Worst, The Movies and NBC

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 writes: Super Bowl advertising is almost invariably overrated, which doesn’t spare us from the impulse — even the need — to rate it.

“As usual, the hype surrounding the ads turned many into a super-bust, suggesting that the folks on Madison Avenue are either bereft of ideas or, in some instances, taking too much advantage of liberalized pot laws.”

There was some excitement going into the game about an influx of relatively new advertisers, offering the promise of new blood. But just as a wave of newcomers in 2000 preceded the dot-com meltdown, this year’s crop of novice sponsors merely exposed a lot of not-ready-for-primetime players in the marketing world.

Of course, the criticism isn’t limited to the new guys. Car companies in general had a bad day. And Budweiser– which traditionally wields the biggest stick during the game – didn’t so much come up with new creative as recycle it, going back to the cross-species love affair between puppies and Clydesdales and erecting a giant Pac-Man maze to prove that, um, what was the point of that Bud Light spot again? (Admittedly, the puppy ad will no doubt be one of the day’s most popular in snap polls.)

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“There was also a surplus of poorly utilized celebrities, including Mindy Kaling for Nationwide; Kim Kardashian for T-Mobile, along with Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman; and Pierce Brosnan for Kia. And while Liam Neeson was great, can anybody remember what the product was?”

The overall mix once again seemed to careen from the hopelessly schmaltzy (“Care makes a man stronger,” says Dove) to the simply goofy (Doritos strapping a rocket to a pig) to the borderline bizarre, such as Snickers dropping Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi into an old “The Brady Bunch” episode.

There was also a surplus of poorly utilized celebrities, including Mindy Kaling for Nationwide; Kim Kardashian for T-Mobile, along with Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman; and Pierce Brosnan for Kia. And while Liam Neeson was great, can anybody remember what the product was?

Another subcategory would be the overproduced extravaganza, such as Mercedes’ CGI “Tortoise & the Hare” retelling or Bud Light’s aforementioned Pac-Man spot. Some of these fare well in audience surveys, but the link between creative and advertiser is so tenuous the benefits often seem exaggerated. And while it’s not necessarily fair, both Microsoft and Toyota’s ads featuring people walking thanks to prosthetic blades were undermined in part by the specter of Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius, who was found guilty of murder last year.

“Finally, there were the public-service announcements, with the sobering NoMore.org domestic violence spot – which resonated in light of the NFL’s Ray Rice fiasco – and Always’ ‘Like a Girl’ campaign. Yet as compelling as those spots were, they almost have to be broken out separately from more directly commercial advertising.”

So what were the principal highlights and lowlights? Separating out movies (which are essentially their own animal), public-service announcements and NBC’s promos for its midseason lineup, they loosely breakdown as follows:

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THE BEST

ESurance: Tapping Bryan Cranston in “Breaking Bad” mode was a genius move, mostly because of the instant cool the association creates in the mind of the show’s fans. In this case, they really did have a lot of us at hello.

Fiat: Look, we all know car ads are essentially about sex. Fiat made the connection overt by dropping a Viagra tablet into one of its cars. If not the best ad of the day, it was the most truthful, since it’s hard to think of any other reason to drive a Fiat.

Carnival Cruises: Wedding John F. Kennedy’s voice discussing man’s love affair with the ocean to beautiful imagery of ships at sea accomplished the near-impossible: It almost made me forget Kathie Lee Gifford and think, at least momentarily, about taking a Carnival Cruise. Plus, in practical terms, the Kennedy-era contingent probably a big part of the company’s target demo.

Coca-Cola: While it’s unlikely spilling Coke on the Internet will sap the venom out of Web comments and our political discourse, it’s hard not to applaud the underlying sentiment and idealism. Notably, McDonald’s went for a similar uplifting spiel with its “Pay With Lovin’” ad, which is probably effective from a marketing standpoint but felt cloying as a commercial. Read the rest of this entry »


Twilight of the Romney Dream

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The exit of Romney from the campaign most immediately helps those viewed as part of the party’s establishment wing, including Bush, Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a three-week flirtation with a new campaign for the White House, Mitt Romney announced Friday that he will not seek the presidency in 2016.

“After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee,” Romney told supporters on a conference call.

“I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well-known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.”

The exit of Romney, who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, comes after several of his former major donors and a veteran staffer in the early voting state of Iowa defected to support former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

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Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would have served as Romney’s most likely rivals for the support of the Republican Party’s establishment-minded voters.

In his call with supporters, Romney appeared to take a swipe at Bush, saying it was time for fresh leadership within the GOP.

“I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well-known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee,” Romney said. “In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.”

Romney pauses as he addresses supporters during his election night rally. Mary Altaffer / AP

Romney pauses as he addresses supporters during his election night rally. Mary Altaffer / AP

The former governor of Massachusetts, who is 67, had jumped back into the presidential discussion on Jan. 10, when he surprised a small group of former donors at a meeting in New York by telling them he was eyeing a third run for the White House. Read the rest of this entry »


STORM: DRUDGE GOES CODE BLUE

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NEW YORK (CBS Connecticut/AP) — Tens of millions of people along the Philadelphia-to-Boston corridor rushed to get home and settle in Monday as a fearsome storm swirled in with the potential for hurricane-force winds and 1 to 3 feet of snow that could paralyze the Northeast for days.

Snow was coating cars and building up on sidewalks and roadways in New York City by evening, and flurries were flying in Boston. Forecasters said the storm would build into a blizzard, and the brunt of it would hit late Monday and into Tuesday.

As the snow got heavier, much of the region rushed to shut down. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Watch What I’m Going to Do’

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“Brinsley’s family is Muslim; however, they say he has never expressed any radical sentiments at all. They report that he has had a troubled life; he has attempted to hang himself in the past and may have been on medication for mental illness.”

New York police held a press conference Sunday afternoon shedding further light on the murders of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos on Saturday, revealing a troubled young man had driven from Maryland that morning and boasted to two men that he was about to do something big right before the execution-style shooting.

Vigil on Tompkins and Myrtle

Vigil on Tompkins and Myrtle

The perpetrator Ismaaiyl Brinsley, age 28, was born in New York, went to high school in New Jersey, and went back and forth from Georgia through the later part of his life. His father currently lives in New Jersey and mother lives in Brooklyn.

“He has a child but is estranged with the mother; she does not appear to be the same woman as his ex-girlfriend, who he shot early Saturday morning before driving to New York City.”

Brinsley has a history of run-ins with the law. He has 15 prior arrests in Georgia for assorted crimes: misdemeanor assault, larceny, shoplifting, and gun possession, dated from 2004 to 2013. He was arrested 4 times in Ohio from May 2009 to September 2009–robbery and misdemeanor theft. He served over 2 years in various prisons, mostly from a 2-year sentence for the Georgia case of criminal possession of a weapon.

2009 booking photo from the Springfield, Ohio Police Department shows Brinsley after an arrest on a felony robbery charge.

2009 booking photo from the Springfield, Ohio Police Department: Brinsley after an arrest on a felony robbery charge.

Law enforcement stated that Brinsley had been broken up with his ex-girlfriend for a year, he entered her home in Maryland yesterday with a key he was not supposed to have. At 5:50 AM, Baltimore police received a report of shots fired, and when they arrived, the ex-girlfriend IDed him–he had already left. Baltimore police tracked him as he was driving on I-95, and he called police to say he shot his ex accidentally and hoped she survived. He also called the woman’s mother several times while driving, apologizing to her. Read the rest of this entry »


Nurse Detained in N.J. Hired Lawyers: Conditions of Quarantine “Really Inhumane”


(UPDATED) BREAKING: Sick Passenger Removed from United Flight by Medical Personnel in Hazmat Suits

New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport

DEVELOPING: Medical personnel in hazmat suits at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport removed a sick passenger Saturday from a United Airlines flight that arrived from Brussels, Belgium…

FoxNews

UPDATE: Robert Wilde has this:

On Saturday at Newark Airport, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials rushed to meet with a United Airlines flight from Brussels and removed a passenger, believed to be from Liberia, suspected of having Ebola. 

The CDC crew responded to flight 998 in full hazmat gear and took the man and his daughter to University Hospital in Newark for further evaluation. According to a senior federal official, the passenger was manifesting “flu-like symptoms.” The passenger was reportedly vomiting in the plane but did not exhibit other Ebola-like symptoms.

“He’s now being treated with protocols as if he has it, but no clear indication at this point that he does,” the official said. Read the rest of this entry »


Tracy Morgan Sues Wal-Mart Over Deadly Crash

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Associated Press

UPDATED: The company says it is “committed to doing the right thing for all involved.”

For the Hollywood ReporterAaron Couch writes: Tracy Morgan is suing Wal-Mart over a New Jersey Turnpike accident that left one person dead and several people hospitalized, including the 30 Rock actor.

Wal-Mart driver Kevin Roper allegedly plowed into a limousine van carrying Morgan on June 7, and Morgan and others injured in the accident allege negligence on Wal-Mart’s part in a lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

[Read the complaint here]

“Wal-Mart was careless and negligent in the ownership and operation of its motor vehicle, which caused Mr. Morgan to suffer severe personal injuries,” the complaint reads. “As a direct and proximate result of said collision, Mr. Morgan was caused to sustain severe painful bodily injuries, including but not limited to multiple fractures which required multiple surgeries, extensive medical treatment and will require significant physical rehabilitation.”

Plaintiffs include Krista Millea, the wife of late comedian James McNair, who died in the accident, as well as Morgan’s assistant, Jeffrey Millea, and comedianArdie Fuqua. The plaintiffs are suing for negligence, and in addition, Millea is suing for loss of consortium. Read the rest of this entry »


Demonstrating Restraint, Foresight, Leadership, and Common Sense, Governor Christie Vetoes Gun Magazine Reduction Bill

Faith And Freedom Coalition Holds Policy Conference

Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a gun control bill Wednesday that would have banned ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

In his veto message, the Republican governor rejected the idea that limiting the number of bullets that guns can hold will put an end to mass shootings, calling it a “simplistic” and “trivial” approach. The bill would have reduced the legal ammunition capacity from 15 to 10 rounds.

(NEWARK, N.J.) — Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a gun control bill Wednesday that would have banned ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

In the bill’s place, Christie called for a series of reforms to mental illness treatment, including a new standard that would make it easier to commit people involuntarily…(read more) TIME


Cruel and Unusual: Community College Staff Forced To Watch ‘Vagina Monologues’

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For The Daily Caller, Eric Owens reports: No fewer than seven faculty members and other employees at a community college amid the suburban sprawl of New Jersey complained after they were forced to sit through a faculty member’s rendition of part of “The Vagina Monologues” at a staff-wide event.

A sampling of the monologues on offer includes “My Angry Vagina,” “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy” and “The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could.”

The mandatory gathering of some 300 professors, bureaucrats and staffers occurred approximately two weeks ago at Mercer County Community Collegereports Inside Higher Ed.

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School spokesman Jim Gardner said all full-time profs and administrators were “expected” to attend the end-of-the-year assembly, which was a celebration of the highlights of Mercer’s academic year.

[Also see ALERT: White vaginas banned for Ivy League Vagina Monologues – punditfromanotherplanet.com]

One highlight of the gala event was a production of “The Vagina Monologues” on campus back in March.

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The Vagina Monologues” is a series of soliloquies designed to be read by women. Initially, playwright Eve Ensler performed the entire show herself. It is now common to have a number of women perform the monologues. Also, actors choose their monologues, so each piece isn’t necessarily used in a given production. Read the rest of this entry »


P.J. O’Rourke’s Commencement Speech to Rutgers’ Geniuses: Go Forth and Fail

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Greetings, Class of 2014. So Condoleezza Rice was too offensive for you. Just wait until Monday morning. Did you learn how to spell KFC?

P.J. O’Rourke writes: Rutgers Did Not Invite Me to Give Its Commencement Speech Today…The university got pretty confused about who would, after Condoleezza Rice declined.Rutgers invited, then disinvited, then re-invited Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers defensive tackle who was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a 2010 football game. LeGrand went on to write two books, become a motivational speaker, and finish his Rutgers degree via Skype.

“…1989 happens to be when the Berlin Wall fell. I know, I know, most of you weren’t born, and you get your news from TMZ. A wall falling over can’t be as interesting as Beyonce’s sister punching and kicking Jay Z in a New York hotel elevator…”

Between inviting and re-inviting LeGrand, Rutgers invited and confirmed the invitation of former New Jersey governor and former head of the 9/11 Commission Tom Kean. So the university has two—and, for all I know, still counting—commencement speakers. But Rutgers never got confused enough to invite me.

“Stop taking selfies and Google “Berlin Wall” on the iPhones you’re all fiddling with.”

Eric LeGrand and Tom Kean are uplifting figures.  LeGrand has raised hope. Kean has raised hell with the CIA and FBI. I am not uplifting.

Here Is What I Would Tell the Rutgers Graduating Class of 2014…

I hear Condoleezza Rice stood you up. You may think it was because about 50 students—.09 percent of your student body—held a “sit-in” at the university president’s office to protest the selection of Secretary Rice as commencement speaker. You may think it was because a few of your faculty—stale flakes from the crust of the turkey pot pie that was the New Left—threatened a “teach-in” to protest the selection of Secretary Rice.

“Sit-in”? “Teach-in”? What century is this?

I think Secretary Rice forgot she had a yoga session scheduled for today.

It’s shame she was busy. You might have heard something useful from a person who grew up poor in Jim Crow Alabama. Who lost a friend and playmate in 1963 when white supremacists bombed Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Who became an accomplished concert pianist before she tuned her ear to the more dissonant chords of international relations. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Senator Cruz vs. Bob Menendez

I would suggest that’s exactly the reason we need this committee…”

Matthew Boyle provides a good summary here.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is making the best argument of all for a joint select committee to investigate the Benghazi scandal, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) says: He admits he has no clue what President Barack Obama was doing during the terrorist attack.

“…If the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, two years later, cannot answer that question, it makes abundantly clear that the response of the administration, and sadly the response of Senate Democrats, has been partisan stonewalling, rather than trying to get to the truth.”

— Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Cruz duked it out with Menendez on the Senate floor on Monday over Cruz’s latest push for a joint select committee to investigate the scandal, prompting Menendez’s admission. Cruz has been arguing for a joint select committee—which would be bipartisan and encompass members of both the House and the Senate—for months…(read more) Breitbart.com

UPDATE: Panetta, Morell Back Benghazi Select Committee

Leon Panetta, who served as defense secretary at the time of the attacks, and former CIA director Mike Morell announced their support at an event for Panetta’s institute. Per Politico:

“A lot of people have looked at this, but the polls show that the American people still have questions. I want to make sure that all of those questions are cleared up. There are still some questions about the role of the agency. And there are still questions about my own personal role and I want to clear that up,” Morell said during a panel discussion at the Panetta Institute in Monterey, Calif. “It might be surprising for you to hear me say this, but I am a supporter of the creation of this committee because I want all the facts to come together in one place and be presented as one — by one entity as one thing, so the American people can see all of this.”

“I am hopeful that at least getting the facts on the table will be helpful…” (read more)

Andrew Johnson, NRO

 


The Hammer: ‘So What if Christie Knew about Lane Closures? Everyone in New Jersey knew…’

David Wildstein, the Port Authority official who oversaw the George Washington Bridge lane closures, wrote in a letter today that Governor Chris Christie knew about the closures when they were happening.

“So what if he knew?” Charles Krauthammer asked on tonight’s Special Report.

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“…Everyone in New Jersey knew. It was on the news.”

What matters is not whether Christie knew about the closures, but whether he ordered the closures, Krauthammer said. “There’s nothing in the letter that says that Christie had knowledge of how and why, or that he gave the order, or that he knew that the order had come out of his office,” Krauthammer said.

“Here we are, two days before the Super Bowl, in New Jersey, first time…the lawyer releases the letter precisely on the eve of the big day to ruin him.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Mess-O-Rama: Benghazi, Obamacare and the Absence of Accountability

“I think of a Conservative, and I take away reason, and accountability”

Ruth Marcus  writes:  In the narrative of every political scandal comes the accountability moment. New facts slow to a trickle, and the next, insistent demand becomes: Who is being held accountable? This is often a dumb question, asked for lack of a more fruitful topic and fueled by partisans more interested in point-scoring than in problem-fixing.The better question is: What is the goal of accountability? A showy, timed-for-the-evening-news firing to demonstrate action and quiet the baying hounds? Or a change in personnel that will help clean up the mess at hand or send a cautionary message to deter future messes?

Consider the recent mess-o-rama. The botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act. The Senate report that deemed the attack in Benghazi, Libya, preventable and raised questions about accountability, or lack thereof. The mounting problems of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Read the rest of this entry »


Memo to Chris Christie: They hate you

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Rich Lowry writes:  If you don’t know who “they” are, you haven’t been watching the news or reading the papers.

Usually, it takes winning the GOP presidential nomination for a Republican media darling to experience such an onslaught of gleefully negative press coverage. John McCain was the straight-talking maverick right up until the moment he effectively clinched the nomination in 2008 — immediately triggering a thinly sourced New York Times report insinuating an affair with a lobbyist.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie has gotten his disillusioning out of the way early, if he needed it. An occupational hazard of a certain kind of Republican is wanting to be loved by the wrong people. If the past week hasn’t cured Christie of that tendency, nothing will.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Media’s Cuckoo Bananas Chris Christie Hysteria

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How to explain the national frenzy over a New Jersey scandal? 

What a bizarre spectacle. Assuming he did not lie during his marathon news conference last week, the feeding frenzy surrounding New Jersey governor Chris Christie will be remembered as one of those incredibly odd moments of elite journalistic hysteria that are difficult to explain to people who weren’t there or didn’t get it.

I’m not referring to the scandal itself; that’s easy enough to understand. What Christie’s team did was outrageous and deserves as much foofaraw and brouhaha as the New Jersey media can muster.

What’s harder to grok is the hysteria at the national level.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Springsteen & Fallon: “Gov. Christie Traffic Jam” (“Born To Run” Parody)

Bruce Springsteen & Bruce Springsteen rework “Born To Run” to address the Fort Lee, NJ bridge scandal.

Bruce Springsteen & Jimmy Fallon: YouTube


Oops! Woman Finds Wrong Body in Her Mother’s Casket

woman-freaking-out.-Twin-shockWARWICK, R.I. (AP) — Erika Niedowski reports:  A woman wants answers after discovering the wrong body in a casket that should have contained her mother, who died unexpectedly while on vacation in St. Maarten.

Lisa Kondvar, of Warwick, and her family discovered another woman’s body in the casket at a New Jersey funeral home last month. The body of her mother, Margaret Porkka, had been prepared at a funeral home on the island.

“I looked up, and I was like, `Good God, are you kidding me?’ I was stunned,” Kondvar said by telephone Friday.

The family proceeded with the wake, with the casket closed, because they discovered the mistake just before calling hours were about to begin.

Read the rest of this entry »


‘Balanced Approach’: Networks give ‘Bridgegate’ 17 times more coverage in 1 day than IRS scandal in 6 months

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The Examiner‘s Paul Bedard reports:  The Big Three networks, in a frenzy over New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie‘s traffic headache dubbed “Bridgegate,” have devoted a whopping 34 minutes and 28 seconds of coverage to the affair in just the last 24 hours.

By comparison, that’s 17 times the two minutes, eight seconds devoted to President Obama‘s IRS scandal in the last six months, according to an analysis by the Media Research Center.

“While routinely burying new stories on the IRS scandal, the media practically fell over themselves to start taking shots at the potential 2016 Republican presidential nominee,” said the conservative media watchdog.

Read the rest of this entry »


Cover Story: Barry Blitt’s Governor Christie “Playing in Traffic” : The New Yorker

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Cover Story: Barry Blitt’s “Playing in Traffic” : The New Yorker

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